Shopping hotspots for your New Zealand vacation
New Zealand’s cities and towns may not necessarily spring to mind as top retail destinations, especially compared with the likes of Paris, New York, Dubai and Milan. But there are plenty of places with shopping finds to suit everyone, whether you’re on the hunt for well known designer fashion labels, distinctly local clothing finds, or famous Kiwi foods and souvenirs.
Have a read about some of the places you might like to add to your New Zealand vacation itinerary if good shopping is on your list!
If you want to find the internationally-known labels, look no further than some of New Zealand’s big cities. In the central business district of the biggest city, Auckland, there’s the High Street strip, Britomart and Queen St, where some big names have set up shop. They include Chanel, Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, and H&M. Luxury brands are also widespread in the tourist mecca of Queenstown in the South Island.
In Auckland, the city fringe suburbs of Ponsonby and Newmarket house many local fashion success stories, known for their unique and edgy pieces. Among the sought after labels are Trelise Cooper (the designer of national carrier Air New Zealand’s colourful uniforms), Zambesi, Storm, Huffer, Deadly Ponies, Kate Sylvester and Karen Walker.
If you’re heading through the capital city of Wellington, pay a visit to Cuba St, the heart of the creative district where cute clothing boutiques are dotted among cafes, second hand bookstores and jewellery outlets.
Dunedin is famous for its annual iD Fashion Week, and many stylish labels are based in the southern city. Those include Charmaine Reveley, Belle Bird Boutique, Plume and Paint the Town Red.
New Zealand fashion brands in Auckland’s Britomart Precinct. Photo: Susanna Burton / Tourism New Zealand.
Many smaller centres around New Zealand are known for artisanally made items with a local reputation. Things you can find at these markets are either not commonly found in other countries or not offered by such specialist producers. Some of the items are manuka honey, avocado and olive oils, whitebait fritters, native wood products, jade and bone jewellery, pottery, soaps, cheeses, wine, and organic fruits and vegetables. To get your hands on a selection, try visiting Matakana Farmers Market not far north of Auckland, other markets in the North Island like the Rotorua Night Market, the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market, and the Wellington Harbourside Market, or Queenstown’s Arts and Crafts Market in the South Island.
Olive oil at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. Photo: FAWC / Tourism New Zealand.
Original jewellery made from local materials, so called ‘kiwiana’ – unique and quirky gifts that showcase New Zealand culture and creativity, and merino wool or possum fur products are great mementos to remind you of your time here. You’ll also find lots of products with a symbolic silver fern, the native plant many national sports teams have as their logo, or the native flightless kiwi bird. The cultural centre of Rotorua is a great place to pick up souvenirs of this type, as are Queenstown, Auckland and Wellington.
Maori carved jade jewellery.
Museum and gallery stores
The country’s museums and art galleries portray a rich and creative heritage – there are works across several artistic disciplines from painting to sculpture, as well as artefacts tracing invention and sporting and industrial endeavour. Once you’ve visited a museum or gallery, it’s ideal if you can pick up an arty or educational piece to pack in the suitcase. It might be a print, a New Zealand history or wildlife book, clothing, homewares, puzzles, jewellery or other gifts.
Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa national museum.